Why Am I So Tired On My Days Off?

I have a little chicken-or-the-egg situation that keeps popping up again and am hoping you’ll weigh in with your own experiences.

While I have made a habit of taking Sundays off (though I confess I do a tiny bit of work here and there if need be, but not much), I don’t do a very good job getting out of my Avid Bookshop work mode other days.  With the exception of the aforementioned Sundays, I work every day even if I’m not on the schedule to work the floor at the bookshop. On days I’m not scheduled for a bookselling shift I am often at the shop anyway (what can I say? It’s a great place!), at my home office, or running errands.

Where does the fatigue come from?

Periodically I give myself a full or even a half-day off, and I find that, in the majority of cases, I end up pretty tired during those times.

After observing this yet again in early January, I wrote this down: “I’m wondering if I am feeling more tired because I took a day off or if I really am good at predicting when I'm going to be tired and therefore know ahead of time that I should take a day off.”

On the one hand, it can be frustrating to have no work commitments but end up being too fatigued to do the personal projects or household tasks I had hoped to get to. On the other hand, it is nice to give myself the official excuse to lounge in bed, watching TV while coloring or reading yet another book.  Oh, and naps: don’t forget how luxurious naps can be on a day off!

Allowing the body to relax

Of course there’s a lot of research out there about how your body can keep it together in high-stress times only to give out and demand a break as soon as those high-stress times have passed. For migraine sufferers, this phenomenon can lead to a “let-down migraine.” For non-migraineurs and migraineurs alike, it can explain why you wake up sneezing and stuffy the day after you turn that huge homework assignment in.

The brain and body connection

So maybe, just maybe, this repeated pattern of feeling really fatigued on my days off relates to that—my body has the knowledge that if it just keeps going for a little longer, it will get a well-deserved break. And by that time that break rolls around, my body’s like, “Oh, yeahhhhh.  I’m going to just put my feet up and relax, and you’re going to have a really hard time waking me up at all, let alone keeping me awake and alert!”

Perhaps it’s not the case I outlined above. Perhaps I am really in tune with my body and decide in advance to take a day off because I can tell that I am about to run very low on energy. Perhaps I am subconsciously able to detect when I am going to crash and I prepare by deciding when to take a day or afternoon off.

Do any of you identify with this question? Please share your experiences below! 

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